News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

August 5, 2013

Woman injured by tiger at refuge returns to work

CENTER POINT — A woman badly injured in a tiger attack at a Clay County, Ind., animal refuge has resumed working part-time at the center, saying she loves her job caring for its big cats.

Marissa Dub, 23, suffered severe head, neck and vocal cord injuries in the June 21 attack at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center near Center Point. She experienced multiple strokes and lost all movement on one side of her face following the attack.

But Dub told WLS-TV that she’s not angry at the tiger and insists that it was just trying to play when it attacked after she mistakenly left a cage gate open.

In fact, Dub said that she couldn’t wait to leave the hospital to go back and see him to make sure he was all right.

“I love my job,” she said. “I love the relationships with the cats, even if they are bad relationships.”

Exotic Feline Rescue Center director Joe Taft said Dub is back working part-time as an animal keeper at the center, which cares for more than 230 big cats that have been abused or abandoned.

Dub, who is from Streamwood, Ill., said that on the day she was attacked she was getting ready to clean a tiger’s pen and put some food out — something she had done many times before.

Although she has no memory about what happens next, Dub thinks one of the gates was left open at the center about 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

Rajah the tiger escaped and came at her.

“When they all came, the cat was on me and my head was basically in his mouth,” Dub said.

Among her with head and neck injuries, Dub’s vocal cords were also damaged, making it hard for her to speak and eat.

But Kris Dub, Marissa’s mother, said her daughter is expected to make a full recovery. She said that it’s not surprising that her daughter does not feel any ill will against the tiger that attacked her.

“That’s Marissa,” she said. “Marissa cares about the animals more than she cares about people.”

The Dub family has set-up a fund for Marissa to help with her medical bills at BMO Harris Bank. Funds can be donated to the bank’s Marissa Dub Benefit Fund.

—Associated Press

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